City eyeing new way to distribute road resurfacing work

A passing vehicle dodges patches of broken asphalt and potholes on Afton Drive, one of the residential streets in line for resurfacing this year. Troy Shantz

Troy Shantz

A Sarnia councillor wants more money spend on roads and the new asphalt laid down equitably across the city.

“It became a matter of fairness,” Mike Stark said. “If a person sees a particular street that’s being done in one area of the city the automatic question is, ‘What about my area?’”

Council has endorsed Stark’s request for a staff report, which will examine splitting Sarnia into four geographic zones, not unlike the former ward system.

“I don’t think there’s anyone who would suggest there aren’t roads of equally deplorable conditions within all four areas of the city,” Stark said.

“This is a situation that’s common in many parts of the city.”

Council has approved $3 million for road resurfacing this year. That’s $750,000 more than last year and about three-times what the previous council spent annually.

About 150 kilometres of city streets have reached or surpassed the end of their useful life, creating a road infrastructure deficit of about $27 million.

“Here we are, dealing with issues that should’ve been dealt with systematically over the last 30 years, and quite frankly have been ignored,” said Stark.

“It just has to stop.”

Council recently approved a list of streets scheduled for resurfacing this year. They include Afton Drive, Baxter Avenue, Amesbury Court, Westbury Court, and parts of Cromwell Street, Elrick Crescent, Gladwish Drive, and Canatara Park.

City staff currently assesses roads and assign a grade of 1 to 100 based on potholes, cracks and drivability. Feedback from the public is also used when choosing which ones to repair.